The post mortems on the California race just keep coming. Here is Andrew Sullivan’s take. Sullivan adopts the line, critiqued here at length on Saturday, that Arnold’s victory may signify the rise of “a genuinely new kind of politician,” one who “blends fiscal conservatism and social liberalism.” Says Sullivan, “in our political wars, he’s a synthesis. In our culture wars, he’s a truce.” As I have suggested, however, conservatives shouldn’t necessarily be looking for a truce in our culture wars, and they certainly shouldn’t be looking to capitulate, which is probably what Arnold ascent would actually represent.
Donald Lambro of the Washington Times has a different reason for finding significance in the Schwarzenegger victory. He sees it as strong evidence of the ongoing erosion of the Democratic base. The combined Schwarzenegger-McClintock share of the African-American vote was 23 percent, and the two captured 39 percent of the Hispanic vote. Moreover, 19 percent of African-American voters opted for the recall of Davis.
Lambro is correct in noting that the erosion he thinks he sees would put an end to anything approaching “50-50 nation.” The Democrats won’t make similar in-roads among white males anytime soon. However, it can be argued that Arnold made the in-roads Lambro points to because of the blend of fiscal conservativism and social liberalism that Sullivan describes. My response would be that the Democratic stranglehold on the vote of blacks and Hispanics has always had more to do with economic than social issues. If these minorities are now willing to vote in decent numbers for pro-growth, anti-tax Republicans, that’s important news. Arnold’s precise numbers are, no doubt, something of an anomaly. But the trend away from the old numbers is probably not.
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